Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Depression In Children

A good article for reference and information. It is also important to note that even if your children display some of the symtoms, it does not necessary mean that your children is having depression. Wishing everyone great health.

Kids don’t have problems... right?

Well they are children and life should be joyful and childlike in happiness. However, that is not always the case since depression in children can strike children just as clinical depression can strike adults.

Has your child not been acting like themselves lately?

Have you noticed that your child is not eating as much as usual?

Are your children not enjoying the activities which used to entertain them for hours on end?

This could be due to something that happened recently (bad grades in school, a death in the family, etc.) and has them feeling down in the dumps, but if that’s the case then you should know about it from your child and talk it through. If nothing (apparent to you) has happened recently which would cause this feeling to overwhelm your child, then it could be something more serious; it could be perhaps chronic depression.

Chronic depression is very serious, and when depression in children occurs, it frequently goes unnoticed. In these cases it is up to you to decipher fact from fiction between depression and a time of just being plain sad.

It is possible that your child could be dealing with depression if they have a loss of appetite. Are your kids eating or are your children eating significantly less than is normal for them?

Another symptom of depression to look out for is if your child has been depressed, without reason, for two to four weeks without resolution.

The best way to deal with on-going symptoms of sadness is to again try and talk it out.

Bobby pushed Lisa into the dirt... but that was 2 months ago? What’s wrong with Lisa today?

Another symptom of depression in children is to look for how your children sound when they’re talking to you. Do they seem to sigh a lot? This could be a subtle sign of pediatric depression. Be on the lookout.

Another way to tell if your child is suffering from depression is if they don’t enjoy the activities which they used to. When was the last time your little artist picked up a crayon and a coloring book? Does your child sleep like they used to? If their sleeping pattern seems a little “off” then this could be a problem.

All of these symptoms are “alerts” to you and it’s very important that you are aware of them. If your children match the attributes described above then they could be suffering from chronic depression.

The final note to remember now is that you cannot solve this problem alone. Depression can only be treated by doctors, particularly your child’s pediatrician, so no self-diagnosis please. Also it’s very important that you know that depression won’t go away by itself.

Depression in children is not a sign of weakness.

It is medical condition that requires treatment. Depression in children is treated by professionally trained doctors. If your child seems to match the description above then see a doctor. Although depression in children can be difficult to deal with, but it doesn’t have to exist in your child.

There are treatment options available that can help both you and your child.

About the Author: Jeff Foster, for more important information on
depression be sure to visit www.0-depression.com where you will find advice and tips on depression self help, depression symptoms, and more.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Signs Of Major Depression in Teenagers, Dr. Beth Paxton

The teenage years are tough on almost everyone. Teenagers go through so many changes in such a short amount of time; it is understandable that they get the blues now and then. But, studies show that as many as four out of every hundred teens suffer from major depression each year.

One of the problems with depression is teenagers often do not talk to their parents about their feelings. This may be because they are embarrassed or because they think what they are going through is normal. But, if your teenager suddenly has a drop in grades, is breaking off relationships with friends and family, gets involved in abusing alcohol or drugs, or acting unusual in other ways, depression may be the problem.

There are many myths about depression in teenagers that often hinder them from getting the help they need. One is that all teens suffer from depression. While it is normal for teenagers to be moody, it is not normal to be depressed. Some parents are afraid to confront their teen when they notice changes in them. Many think that talking about the depression will somehow make it worse, but talking to your teen about their feelings will only help, if for no other reason that for you to get a better understanding of the situation. One thing you should be very careful with is if you hear your teen express wishes to commit suicide. It is a myth that people who talk about suicide usually do not attempt it. This is a very serious situation and should be dealt with immediately.

Because withdrawing from family is one of the signs of depression, you may not be able to get your teen to talk to you about how he or she is feeling. But, if you can, there are some things you should look for in conversations:

• If they mention they feel like their life is meaningless or worthless

• If they discontinue activities they previously enjoyed. For example, if your teen previously loved playing basketball and suddenly stops playing, offering no reasons as to why.

• They suddenly seem to have a negative attitude about everything

• They show trouble concentrating

• They are easily irritated and overreact with anger

• They suddenly start talking about death or dying a lot

• They want to spend most of their time alone

If your teen refuses to talk to you, there are some physical signs of major depression you might notice. Looks for frequent and unexplained crying, changes in sleep patterns (either sleeps all the time or seems to be suffering from insomnia), and changes in eating habits. If you know your teen’s friends well, ask them about your child’s behavior and see if they know what is causing it.

It is important that symptoms of depression in your teen be addressed. If they will not talk to you, see if the school counselor will talk to them. If they will not talk to the school counselor, schedule a psychiatrist appointment for them. Check to see if it is okay if you attend with your teen so you can know exactly what is going on. Initially, your teen or even the psychiatrist may not want you in the sessions, but later on, you may be able to attend. Try to convey to your teen that you are not nosing into his or her business, but rather concerned because of their changes. Remind them that there is no shame in talking about your problems with a psychiatrist. Be sure to let them know that there are many ways of finding relief for depression. Sometimes it may only involved counseling. This should be someone that your teen trusts and feels comfortable with so he or she will open up and talk about his or her problems. The first psychiatrist you visit may or may not be able to reach your teen. If not, do not hesitate to visit another. In some cases, medication may be also be given to help relieve the symptoms of depression.

The most important things in dealing with depression in teens are a) that you catch the symptoms early on, b) you try to stay in communication with your teen, and c) when you do seek treatment, you try to convey to your teen that you are only doing this because you love them and are concerned about them. Initially, they may resent your interfering, but hopefully in the long run, they will understand and appreciate your help.

About the Author: Dr. Beth Paxton is a general health practictioner providing helpful information for families and patients with
childhood depression.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Healthy Nutrition Beats Stress At Its Own Game by Lynn Beebe

Did you know that stress can be deadly? While most of the everyday stress experienced from time to time by most of us is not dangerous in and of itself, prolonged periods of stress have been known to cause serious health problems.

Stress is caused by many factors and affects everyone a bit differently. Because there are so many variables at play, each individual will have better success with certain strategies than others. Learning to recognize stress is the first step in the process of finding a way to deal with and reduce it.

Although there are many techniques that can and should be used to effectively deal with stress, one that helps nearly every time is improved dietary nutrition. In fact, some people find that dealing with this one area of their daily routine completely eliminates their stress. In situations where the stress is caused by factors other than current dietary habits, maintaining a healthy diet is mandatory to prevent further damage.

So what exactly is proper nutrition and how does it relate to stress? Nutrition provides the body with various vitamins and minerals which have certain effects on bodily functions. Mood, which is certainly related to stress, is controlled by a chemical released in the body called serotonin. It is crucial that this chemical remain in proper balance or mood fluctuations will occur, resulting in greater stress levels.

In order to maintain a balance of serotonin it is wise to include healthy carbohydrate selections as well as foods rich in tryptophan, an amino acid used by the body to produce serotonin, in the diet. Examples of healthy carbohydrates include brown rice and other whole grains, sweet potatoes, squash and green veggies such as broccoli. Turkey is one of the best sources of tryptophan with eggs and nuts being good choices as well.

If we are honest with ourselves, we know what we should be eating. Make a conscious effort to include several fruits and vegetables with each meal and consume plenty of lean protein, whole grains and fresh water. Avoid things like fast food, sodas and sugar-laden foods. In the event you do eat one of these less desirable choices, take note of how you feel after eating it. You'll undoubtedly find that you don't feel quite as well as you do when your plate includes healthier selections.

That is not to say there is no place in a healthy diet for the occasional treat but such foods should be eaten in moderation and combined with more healthful foods to minimize the damage they cause. When eaten in combination with better choices they will not have the harmful effect on mood and stress levels as they would if consumed on their own.

While diet by itself will not solve every issue related to stress, it will provide a foundation of strength with which to fight back.

About the Author: Visit Your Guide to Stress Management by Balanced Life Secrets for more information about
stress and stress management.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Finding An Insomnia Cure by Michelle Bery

Insomnia – the inability to fall or stay asleep – has likely held each of us in its grip at one time or another. Tossing and turning the whole night through, we finally succumb to whatever fitful nugget of sleep we can find and awaken the next day feeling disoriented and exhausted. Insomnia can wreak havoc on our overall health, making us susceptible to a host of illnesses – and rendering us ineffectual during waking hours.

Finding an insomnia cure is a very personal journey. Certain things that may work for one person, may not work for another. It’s best when seeking an insomnia cure to begin adopting lifestyle changes one at a time to ascertain what works best for you, if anything. Luckily, there are many ways to combat insomnia and enjoy a good night’s rest.

Many times, insomnia becomes a bit of a habit. If you have several nights of tossing and turning, then often your bed becomes associated with this fitful lack of sleep. Changing the environment may help to break the cycle and redefine your bed as a place of rest. Eliminate all wakeful activities in the bedroom including watching television, reading, and working. Make the bed somewhere you go for sleep and go there only when you’re feeling tired. Darken the room, change the sheets and blankets to make them more comfortable and conducive to changing temperatures, and add soothing music or white noise if that’s something that induces sleep.

Remember that your insomnia cure is personal; if something doesn’t work, eliminate it and move on to something else. But more often than not, changes to your daily routine will often bring about an insomnia cure. Try other pre-bed activities to set the mood for sleep – yoga, stretching, meditation, or breathing exercises; a cup of warm decaffeinated tea; or a hot bath. And try to keep the times you’re turning in and waking up consistent day to day so that your body develops an internal clock of its own.

If you find that you are still having difficulty falling and staying asleep, then it may be wise to visit your doctor for an evaluation. There are many over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids that will help in you in the short term if you are experiencing stress or other emotional factors. It may not be a long term insomnia cure but it will help you get your needed rest in the meantime.

About the Author: For easy to understand, in depth information about insomnia visit our ezGuide 2
Insomnia.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Understanding The Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety And Stress by Paul Dylan

The physical symptoms of anxiety and stress can be quite detrimental to one’s health. Unfortunately, many people may be so stressed that they do not realize the extent of it or the impact the stress and anxiety is having on their health. In some cases, the more stress or anxiety an individual experiences the less able they are to recognize it. Quite frequently in these situations the individual may have even become so accustomed to their level of stress, and the physical symptoms it produces, that they feel it is normal.

Due to the fact that some people may not be aware of their emotional response to stress and anxiety they may need to rely on physical manifestations to identify it. This makes taking the time to learn about the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety an important step. Tuning into the symptoms of stress and anxiety can help you to identify potential triggers in your life and in turn help you to better manage them and alleviate the stress and anxiety in your life.

It is important to be aware that the physical symptoms of anxiety and stress can vary from one person to the next. Some symptoms may be more serious than others and can even be life threatening. It should be noted that one symptom on its own may not necessarily indicate the presence of stress or anxiety; however, where there are multiple symptoms this is a strong indication there is stress or anxiety present. Some symptoms you experience may be short-term while others may be long-term symptoms. Short-term symptoms include the following:

• Cold hands and feet
• Dry mouth
• Rapid breathing
• Increased heart beat
• Increased sweating
• Nausea
• Diarrhea

Generally these short term side effects appear when the body is responding to a perceived threat. This is the body’s way of helping you prepare to either stay and fight the threatening situation or flee from it; a response commonly known as fight or flight. While this rush of adrenaline and emotions can be helpful in a truly threatening situation, it can have negative impacts during times when there is no immediate danger.

Over time these physical symptoms can damage your self-confidence, disrupt the quality of your life and reduce the pleasure you get from your work. In addition, when the body is exposed to these physical symptoms over a long period of time your health can actually start to decline. Long term side effects of stress and anxiety include:

• Sexual disorders
• Changes in appetite
• Insomnia
• Frequent illness
• Back pain
• Asthma
• Headaches
• Digestive problems
• Lethargy
• Restlessness
• Depression
• Irritability

Remember, that one symptom by itself may not necessarily indicate the presence of either short term or long term stress and anxiety. There are other reasons that can result in a single symptom, such as certain medications. The presence of multiple symptoms; however, can indicate a problem. If you notice multiple physical symptoms of anxiety and stress, take heart in knowing that stress and anxiety management techniques can help you to reduce those symptoms and get back to your old self.

About the Author: A 10 year survivor reveals how he dismantled
anxiety and panic attacks without medications and expensive treatments. Learn how he did with The SelfSteps Program

Saturday, January 13, 2007

5HTP Benefits by Lorraine Grula

The benefits of taking 5HTP supplements range from conquering depression to getting a better night's sleep. 5HTP might also benefit you by relieving your nasty migraine headaches or easing those persistent carbohydrate cravings that keep your hand glued to the cookie jar. If you have a problem caused, or exacerbated, by low serotonin levels, 5HTP can provide benefits.

To understand the benefits of taking 5HTP, it helps to know a little about how 5HTP works, how it affects serotonin levels, and what that means for your health.

5HTP is the raw material needed by the body to produce serotonin. Just like you need flour to make bread, the body needs 5HTP to produce serotonin. The process the body uses to supply the brain serotonin is quite complex and involves several steps. 5HTP is known by scientists as the "precursor" to serotonin, which means 5HTP turns directly into serotonin under the right conditions.

Serotonin is the end product used by the brain and body to regulate lots of things including: mood, sleep, pain, digestion, and cognition. Generally speaking, low levels of serotonin lead to all kinds of ailments, many of which plague our modern day word. Depressed, anxious? Blame low serotonin. Pacing the floor at night, wired with insomnia? Blame low serotonin levels. Migraines forcing you to crawl into a dark quiet retreat? Blame low serotonin levels.

The benefits of taking 5HTP correlate with the benefits of raising serotonin levels. If your headaches are indeed caused by low serotonin levels, then 5HTP might help you. Keep in mind that lots of things cause migraine headaches, low serotonin is just one factor and your headaches might be due to something else entirely.

Depression is often caused, or exacerbated, by low serotonin levels, but not always. Not all depression will respond to an increase in serotonin, but generally about 80% of depressed people do feel better when their serotonin levels are raised. So the benefits you receive from taking 5HTP will depend on whether low serotonin levels are indeed your problem.

5HTP seems to be one of the best and least risky ways to raise serotonin and receive the associated benefits. Raising serotonin is the objective with a very popular class of modern medicines which are taken by millions of people, the SSRI antidepressant medications. Starting with the cultural phenomenon that followed the release of Prozac in the mid-eighties, SSRI drugs have helped, and in some cases, harmed millions of people.

Taken to combat all sorts of mental disorders and stress, SSRIs drugs include well known prescription drugs like Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, Celexa, and Elavil. Wellbutrin, Effexor and other medicines used to treat depression are similar but affect other brain chemicals in addition to serotonin. Older medications used to treat depression, known as the tricyclic antidepressants, also affect serotonin levels.

5HTP is the body chemical needed for serotonin production, so often the benefits of taking any of the above pharmaceutical medications can be enhanced by adding 5HTP supplements. This would be the equivalent of giving the baker more flour so she can make extra loaves of bread. Before you do this however, consult with your doctor. This strategy benefits some people, but there are risks involved too.

You can, in effect, "overdose" on serotonin. Serotonin Syndrome is the name for a condition which can come on suddenly and be extremely dangerous. If the serotonin system in the body becomes over stimulated, a person becomes confused and may slip into a hypo-manic, or mildly manic, state. Serotonin Syndrome can also cause a person to feel agitated and loose coordination like they're drunk. Fortunately, serotonin syndrome is extremely rare and many people have enhanced the benefits of their prescription SSRI regimen by adding 5HTP.

5HTP benefits vary from person to person. Generally speaking, people who need to increase their serotonin levels find 5HTP more beneficial and less harmful than the pharmaceutical treatments used by so many doctors. 5HTP not only can provide more direct benefits with less side effects, 5HTP is cheaper and easier to obtain than a doctor's prescription. Even with insurance, an SSRI can cost more than 5HTP and certainly for the person who doesn't have insurance, 5HTP is a bargain indeed.

About the Author: Lorraine Grula is a seasoned medical journalist with over twelve years and hundreds of health reports to her credit. Lorraine writes consumer-oriented wellness news from a natural health perspective. A rebel against the corrosive effects of big pharma and corporate media on the integrity of most health news, Lorraine vows to provide objective, scientifically accurate, easy-to-understand practical information so consumers can form their own conclusions. Visit her website
http://www.FeelingGood4ever.com

Thursday, January 11, 2007

3 Natural Depression, Anxiety and Stress Management Techniques

A very good article on Depression, Anxiety and Stress Management Techniques. I agree with what the author said, that the first and foremost in dealing with depression, anxiety and stress is to take responsibility that we are in the situation now because of ourselves and we have the power to do something to change it. The second point which I would agree to is, "If we change our thoughts, we change our life."

If you're enduring a harrowing episode of stress, depression or anxiety, then seeing light at the end of the tunnel can be difficult. You just want the torment to stop. Here are three easy depression, anxiety and stress management techniques you can take today to find natural relief from stress, depression and anxiety:

1. With many changes in life, the first step is the hardest and taking the first step towards beating stress, depression and anxiety is no different. It's accepting that where you are now is solely down to you. This took me so long to realize and for years, I believed circumstances caused my anxiety, such as the timing of events, the number of events and the people involved. I also thought that because these circumstances were beyond my control, I couldn't do anything to change. This thinking deepened my anxiety. But accepting that where you're at right now is solely down to you is so important. Initially, accepting it can seem overwhelming but in fact, it's liberating.

Why?

Because when you accept that you are responsible for where you are now, you also accept that logically, you are the one who can get you out of it. There are always events outside ourselves that we can point to as being the reason for our plight. But doing this won't help. Instead, say: "No matter what happened, no matter what others did or didn't do. I and I alone am responsible for where I am now and therefore, I will get myself out of it." Doing this will remove the power external events and other people have over you and will empower you instead. And please don't confuse this with blame. This is accepting responsibility and developing the power to change and is vastly different from blaming yourself. One is destructive, the other is constructive and the difference between them is crucial.

2. Make a firm decision to get rid of stress, depression and anxiety. Say: "I want to conquer stress/depression/anxiety. These things are no longer acceptable and I'm going to take action to beat them. I want them out of my life and I deserve to be free of them."

This is another great step to take. From now on you will control these problems; they won't control you. There are many actions you can take and there are many skills you can have in your power that will effectively diminish the torment stress, depression and anxiety inflict upon you. And when you have them in your power, the quality of your life will improve dramatically. In taking this step, you acknowledge that stress, depression and anxiety aren't problems that you have to put up with and instead, you have the power to conquer them. You also realize that you deserve to live a happy and enjoyable life and that stress, depression and anxiety WILL NOT take that away from you. Indeed, you have a right to be happy and you will no longer allow anything or anyone to take that away from you.

3. The self-improvement gurus have been sharing a secret with their clients for years. It is a powerful secret that has helped millions of people around the world to change their lives. As my clients will testify, I don't believe in magic bullets to conquer stress, depression and anxiety as they rarely work. But this is a magic bullet that really does work and it will yield big results for you.

So what is their closely guarded secret and how can it help you find relief from stress, depression and anxiety? It's this:

If you change your thoughts you will change your life.

It's a simple sentence but my word does it holds power! Because the way you think about your life - and I mean everything in your life from your looks, your abilities, relationships, work, to events and circumstances you are faced with - affects how you feel.

When you're suffering a stressful, depressive or anxious episode, assigning negative meanings and outcomes to your situation is performed habitually. Continually brooding upon negative and even catastrophic outcomes is performed by all sufferers and these flawed modes of thinking are the fuel that maintains stress, depression and anxiety.

The more you think in negative ways the deeper your suffering becomes. But if you apply the secret of the self- improvement gurus, you can change your life too. Because if you carry on doing the same things - thinking in the same way - your life will carry on in the same way. But if you change your thoughts, you will change your life and you will emerge from the tunnel into a brighter, happier future. It's true - change your thoughts, change your life!

Former anxiety sufferer Chris Green is the author of "Conquering Stress", the internationally acclaimed program which will help you to permanently conquer stress, depression and anxiety without taking powerful drugs in just 90 days. Click for more information to
Conquer Stress, Depression & Anxiety naturally In Just 90 Days!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What You Need To Know About Sleep Apnea By John Lenaghan

The sound of snoring is caused by the airways in your nose and throat being partially or completely blocked. It causes problems for both the snorer and anyone who sleeps with or near them.

Sleep apnea is a more serious condition that occurs when the air blockage causes you to stop breathing at least 5 times an hour, for over 10 seconds each time. Sleep apnea is a dangerous condition that can ultimately lead to death.

If you're suspected of suffering from sleep apnea, your doctor will arrange for you to have your nose and throat examined to find any obvious causes of obstruction. This could include an anatomical abnormality or nasal polyps. The exam is handled with either an endoscopic exam or a CT scan.

After the initial diagnosis is done you'll be sent to a sleep lab where you will undergo a study of your sleeping patterns.

A sleep study monitors your body while you sleep. Some of the measurements that will be tracked include:

- blood oxygen levels
- blood pressure
- heart rate
- airflow
- chest & diaphragm movement
- brain activity

You'll stay overnight in a special sleep lab where these tests will be done with equipment that is attached to you while you sleep. (It's not as bad as it sounds - you will be able to sleep!)

If you're diagnosed with sleep apnea, you'll probably be told to avoid any kind of sleep medications and alcohol. If you're overweight, you'll be advised to lose the extra weight. You may also be told to start sleeping on your side.

These three simple things can sometimes be enough to solve the problem.

If this is not enough to remedy the problem, you may undergo other sleep apnea treatments such as positive pressure ventilation, in which you will be given a tightly fitting nasal mask through which air is pumped. The increased air pressure can help to keep your airways open.

If these treatments still don't solve the problem, you may have to undergo surgery.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of the condition and generally responds to treatment. Central sleep apnea, in which there can be brain or nerve damage, is often not as responsive to treatment. In these cases you may need to treat them with drugs that stimulate your breathing.

About the Author: John Lenaghan writes about how to end snoring problems and other snoring related topics for the Snoring Solutions website. For more information visit
http://www.snoringsolutions.org

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Trouble with Sleeping during Menopause

Going through menopause is difficult, and unfortunately, many of the problems that begin during perimenopause lead to one major problem; lack of sleep. Although you may not at first realize the connection, sleep deprivation, insomnia, and other night time troubles commonly begin with women in their forties and fifties, even when then have previously not suffered from sleeping problems. Many forces come together for menopausal women to make sleep difficult, so it is important to understand your symptoms so that you can treat them efficiently and get a better night sleep.

Night sweats are one of the most common causes of sleeping problems. The night-time version of hot flashes, night sweats can cause you to have trouble falling asleep or can wake you up while you are already sleeping. Restless leg syndrome is another common menopausal experience. This urge to move your legs comes with feelings of itchy, crawling, tugging sensations on your skin, which can make sleeping difficult for both you and your partner. Restless leg syndrome has roots in neurological problems. Mentally, another condition caused by changing hormone levels in your body is depression. This is especially true for women who are experiencing early menopause or surgically induced menopause.

The most serious sleep-related condition, however, is sleep apnea. While the symptoms of sleep apnea such as snoring may seem harmless, this problem effects your breathing and actually causes you to lapse into periods where you do not breath. There is a definite link between sleep apnea and menopause, so if you are told by your partner that you have recently begun to snore, it is a possibility that you suffer from this condition and you should immediately speak with your doctor. Sleep apnea can result in death due to heart attack or stroke.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, medication and surgery are the two best options to clear this problem. However, if you suffer from other menopausal conditions (i.e., night sweats, restless leg syndrome, and depression), there are many natural treatment options you can try before beginning a traditional medical treatment. Speak with your doctor, as always, to be sure these lifestyle changes are healthy for your body.

First and foremost, exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. Dietary changes alone can improve your mood and cause other sleep problems to clear up, especially if you consider supplements of natural herbs. Continue your health-conscious changes by quitting bad habits, such as smoking and consuming excess amounts of alcohol. This will promote a healthier body overall. For depression, you may wish to speak with a professional therapist; depression could be caused by menopause, or you may have underlying problems that won’t be cleared up when your body adjusts to the hormonal changes. Also begin to de-stress your life. By relaxing during the day, you will find that you can rest better at night. And a no-brainer solution to night sweats? Sleep with a window open, put a fan on or an air conditioner.

If these natural changes do not help, or if your problems persist for more than a year, speak with your doctor, as these could be side effects of a more serious condition. Menopause is challenging, but it should not make your life unliveable; if you have problems sleeping at night, you will suffer twice as much from problems during the day, as you will be more tired and your immune system will be weakened. Get the help you need when you need it to make this transition in life as smooth as possible.

About The Author: Kathryn Whittaker has an interest in Menopause. For further information on Menopause please visit http://www.natural-menopause-relief-secrets.com/menopause.html
or http://www.natural-menopause-relief-secrets.com/blog/2006/12/14/the-trouble-with-sleeping-during-menopause/

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Best Places To Go And Retreat - Get Over Stress!

An interesting article I read in my email today about retreat. At first glance of the title, I was thinking it must be introducing some places we can go for retreat like resorts, beaches etc. To my pleasant surprise, it is talking about non other than a place very near to us - right in our home. This is truly something which you might be able to create right in your home to help yourself to relax.

The stress of modern life can be overwhelming. When you have too much on your mind, your body produces excess stress hormones like adrenaline, non-adrenaline, and an adrenal-cortex hormone. Additionally, your body experiences other changes. Your heart rate increases, your blood pressure goes up, your respiration levels change, you begin to sweat, and you become unable to process your food because digestion shuts down. While moving or any type of physical action can slow or even stop the effects of stress, sitting at your desk or in the car simply causes all of the stress reactions in your body to continue. At some point, your body becomes so full of the stress reactions; you can't handle the simplest of daily tasks. This is the time to retreat from the everyday stress of life.

A good retreat doesn't have to mean vacation. It can simply mean finding a room in your house you enjoy and spending some quality time there. For many people, this room is their bathroom. While bathrooms used to be purely useful in nature, today's designs and accessories have changed the bathroom's image. One option for turning your bathroom into a stress relief center is to change your shower head. Some deliver water massages. Others create a steam room right in your bathroom.

Additionally, most shower heads are now adjustable, which helps because people aren't all the same size. If you want a retreat, it's nice to finally have one that fits you as a person. Bath seats are also popular now. Because people work such long hours, most of them don't want to be on their feet any longer than they have to. With the proper sized shower head, it is possible to sit on a comfortable bath seat and enjoy your style without putting additional pressure on your feet.

In addition to changing the equipment like the shower head, there are a number of other easy fixes to make your bathroom the retreat you've always wanted. It is important to paint your bathroom walls a soft, soothing color. Pastels like pale lilac, soothing blue or gentle greens will make it seem like the perfect, comforting space. Oversized one hundred percent cotton towels with your preferred thickness will increase this experience. If you only use them when you need a bit of relaxation, they will maintain their size. Aromatherapy candles can also be helpful. You can get them in colors to match your walls, and the scent can be very soothing, as can the gentle, flickering light. Bath oils can add to the experience. You can make your own by combining your favorite essence oils, or you can purchase prepared scents that you enjoy. Add some music to your retreat by placing a media player away from the water source. Keep some relaxing music in the player, and you've got an instant soothe. If you plan to take a bath, draw it ten minutes before you want to get in. That will give the bathtub time to heat up. All of these simple changes to your bathroom will make it a great everyday retreat.

Another way to retreat from everyday life without even leaving is meditation. Meditation offers an inner retreat. Simple meditation can be undertaken wherever you happen to be at the time. You can even carry on your day-to-day tasks while being in a meditative state of mind. For meditation beginners, however, it is best if you practice meditation in a quiet place before you attempt to undertake it with distractions present. Begin by finding a place where you will not be disturbed. It works best if you sit on the floor, but you can do it anywhere you feel comfortable. Classic meditation takes place on the floor with a pillow. If you intend to mediate with your eyes closed, be sure there is enough light present in the room to keep you from sleeping. The whole intention of meditation is to examine your thoughts on a deeper level, and sleeping will interfere with that. The most basic thing to do to get started is nothing. Simply relax and do nothing. Become aware of your breathing and let your thoughts free you. Stop examining the world as a series of disconnected events and look at the entire things a connective circle. It is important with beginning meditation to avoid the use of mantras. They will only force you to lose your focus on yourself.

Stress is, at times, overwhelming. It is important to find everyday retreats that allow you to relax and let go of your worldly troubles.


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Monday, January 01, 2007

Reducing The Stress In Your Life: Personal & Realistic Solutions by Dr. Jacob Jaffe

Stress, like the weather, is ever present in our lives. While unavoidable, we can make it more manageable, just as we can dress appropriately to suit weather conditions. Stress, defined as our reactions to external situations or internal psychological states, affects our physical health and emotional well-being. Despite all the advice that has been written about stress, why are so many of us overwhelmed by it?

One reason is that we find it difficult to accept that living itself causes various forms of stress, making it impossible to eliminate. Nor is all stress bad. The satisfying excitement of achievements and happy events in our lives result in a stress that we welcome. But it is realistic to avoid--or at least reduce--the harmful forms of psychological stress (e.g., worries, anxieties, fears, irritability and depression) and the damaging physiological reactions (e.g., increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, muscular tensions, and an impaired immune system). Stress may also cause us to behave destructively.

Let me say that in coping with stress, we should avoid ineffective or self-defeating techniques, including overindulgence in alcohol, smoking and the use of illegal drugs. These temporary methods not only fail to relieve stress but cause more damage--physically, emotionally, relationship and job- wise. Users become addicted to them and all too often spiral out of control.

Another approach to controlling stress is the use of psychotropic drugs prescribed by physicians. But as a psychologist, I use behavioral and other psychotherapeutic techniques. With most people, these treatments are effective. But they involve the persons participating in their own recovery. However, if the person's stress is severe, medical consultation could be indicated. Knowledgeable physicians will treat their patients with an effective drug that has the fewest side effects and will follow up on the patient's progress. They will also reduce or eliminate the medication when the stress is manageable. The patient should not hesitate to question the psychiatrist about the medications and their effects. Often, psychotherapy may be indicated to make more effective and lasting progress.

Physical causes for stresses should not be overlooked. A good physical work-up may be necessary to find out if medical treatment is indicated. Sometimes, medications themselves can cause stress reactions. In considering the cause of stress, we may need to play detective. Let us keep in mind that people differ in their coping styles. Even with the loss of a loved one, a relationship breakup, losing one's job or a serious financial setback, some people are more resilient. Others recover more slowly or are even stymied in moving on with their lives. Those whose suffering is severe or lengthy should not avoid seeking professional help. As a consumer advocate, I would suggest that the person consider the various treatment options and consider the pros and cons of each.

Strange as it may sound, stress can be helpful! Like pain, it can motivate us to make changes in our lives or to obtain the necessary treatment that can not only reduce stress, but also improve our lives. I can give two examples in my own life. One concerned a job that was damaging my physical health and psychological well-being. Those stresses made me quit the job, return to school and change my career. A second was an overwhelming workload and a weight gain that were taking a physical and emotional toll on my health. I switched to a nutritious eating pattern and started practicing meditation techniques; both improved my physical and psychological health. I must admit that I had the same difficulties as my patients in overcoming these self-destructive patterns. While we are creatures of habit, we can be motivated to change if we strive for health, longevity and greater happiness.

Having used myself as a case study let me give an example from my psychotherapy practice. A patient worked for two years without a pay raise. Finally, he was encouraged to approach his supervisor. He discovered that the supervisor was unaware of the situation and promptly got the patient his raise. This problem arose because of a personnel glitch and the patient's not speaking up sooner. He had underestimated how valued a worker he was. His insecurities contributed to the problem! As a result off this experience, he was also able to consider other situations in his life that he could confront.

But let's be realistic. Another supervisor could have acted differently and defensively. If he had, my patient could have considered all possible options, such as appealing to a director, looking for another job or biding his time if he was not ready to quit. While not wanting to unnecessarily prolong our suffering, we should avoid acting impulsively. It is best to carefully consider our options, including a change in the situation. For several of my patients the difficult supervisor was transferred or quit. Since we are each unique, there are no boilerplate solutions. Know thyself is a good maxim. One person may find it better to quit, another to bide his time. But each should consider the consequences of each choice.

Let me now mention couple relationships which offer not only many satisfactions but, as we all know, stresses as well. While we realize "talking it over" is helpful, all too often, each person goes into the defensive or critical mode. Criticizing and complaining are counter-productive, escalate the conflict and make a bad situation worse. Communication, while highly desirable, has to be constructive. All too often we ignore the basic ground rules of effective communication. They include: a calm situation where both are willing to spend the necessary time to listen as well as talk. Rather than criticizing, or complaining and defensively not admitting to any fault, just listen. Don't neglect to say what you like about the other person and the positive aspects of the relationship. If neither existed, why would you want to remain in such a relationship? Present the difficulties in perspective. I can't go into all of the effective communication techniques that help resolve conflicts, but be assured there are many. If such discussions don't help, consider other alternatives, including couple counseling. If your partner is unwilling to go, consider going yourself to get help as to what to do. Often, the partner who's unwilling to come may change his or her mind. With a skilled therapist, couple counseling will help both persons realize what each is doing to contribute to the problems and what each can do to improve the situation.

One recent example is the couple that came to me, the wife saying, "He threw me out!" while the husband said, "She left and wouldn't return." It soon became clear that after a heated argument, he told her, "If you're unhappy, you can leave." After she left, she refused to return. By the way, anger, a stress itself, interferes with listening and thinking. The couple, after several sessions, realized that their intentions were not to end the relationship but rather that their words were expressing anger and frustration. They decided to again live together and in counseling learned to discuss and resolve their conflicts more rationally. If all efforts fail to resolve differences, couples may consider divorce to end a futile situation. Hopefully, each can learn from the experience and move on with their lives. If there are children, the couple should avoid involving them in their conflict and reduce as much as possible the damaging effects on them.

Let me summarize my approach, which is appreciably condensed in this brief article. First, realize stress is an inescapable aspect of living and may even prod us into improving our lives. Two, consider the causes of the stress (don't leave yourself out!) and the options for reducing or eliminating it. Three, realize that many stressful situations have developed over time and may be complicated. So don't expect instant solutions. Consider solutions a process in which we may be stymied, enter blind alleys, make blunders, but always consider the ways to recover and better resolve the situation. Four, realize that reactions to stress are not limited to fight or flight. Our human species has the capabilities for considering constructive options if we are motivated, realistic, persistent, flexible and are open to getting professional help. And lastly, realize that a realistically optimistic attitude can be maintained or learned if necessary to help us effectively handle the stresses in our lives and live more happily.

About The Author: Dr. Jacob Jaffe is a psychologist who has taught at Columbia and the City Universities. He has published two novels. "Hobgoblins" , a political-psycholog ical thriller and,"Land of Dreams" a family saga of the immigrant experience. Visit his website at http://www.jaffeauthor.com